When you’ve spent half your life living in the East with many of those years near the tiny Appalachian Mountains and rolling hills of Pennsylvania, the sight of majestic mountains like the West’s Tetons and the Sawtooths, has a profound affect on a person.
As my son, Doug, was driving me into Carson City for my postponed medical test, I admired the scene on both sides of the highway. It was in the early 1970s that my husband Van and I first set our eyes on these bare tumbleweed acres. We decided we’d leave Fresno and move to Boyer Lane close to Stagecoach. Our beautiful state of Nevada has its own unique mountainous beauty.
Perhaps I was trying to take my mind off of what was ahead. I hate tests and dislike that hospital atmosphere. Don’t we all? However, I knew I had to get this done and was trying to take my mind off the possible negative results. I see my cancer doctor again next week. But instead, I was remembering those early days when Van and I settled into our Stagecoach homestead.
Van worked at Laddie Furlong’s Meyers Hardware in Carson City and I at a title company. We loved the beauty that surrounded us in that gorgeous valley. Along the ride with Doug, Lake Lahontan looked like a puddle. When we saw large sections of the mountains covered with green, we were surprised. Then I remembered that it had rained in other areas. However, Mother Nature seemed to bypass Fallon.
As we came down that last hill into Carson City Doug reminded me of how surprised we were, when coming across the country through Reno in 1964, that huge mountains peaks surrounded it. But we had just come through the Tetons and nothing was going to ever surprise us again. Doug laughed. Then he reminded me of that awful trip over Donner Pass when they were in the process of widening the road.
We got delayed, as they worked, at the very top. Just by my window there was about a 3000-foot drop-off and I’m terrified of heights. I recalled my legs turning to rubber and my heart beating like a scared hummingbird’s. Finally back to the tests in Carson City. I went through all of the routine, which brought my mind back to the present. The day before this is printed I’ll get the results.
Good or bad it’s what I’ll have to accept and live with. As we returned home I got to thinking about my life. A normal reaction, I assume, when anybody faces what I’m going through at this moment? I thought again about my life, thankful for many blessings, especially the fact that I had two very nice husbands — regardless of one divorce.
My first husband Don was a fine man. We had five sons, five grandchildren and ten great-grandchildren that I love so very much. Along life’s highway I’ve had may wonderful friends. I’ve lived an extremely interesting life. I’ve seen a lot of beautiful country that I count as a special, extra blessing. Not everybody gets to live in the places I have and enjoyed not just the mountains, but scenery that is so uniquely American.
When I shut my eyes I still see my first born, sitting on the white sand at Fort Myers Beach, Fla. with tiny waves washing over his baby feet. Back then in 1944, there were always two or three other mothers on the beach. Sometimes, for just a moment, we’d forget that a war was raging overseas and our husbands could soon be in harm’s way.
The blessed tranquility was often interrupted, as planes would fly just skimming over the top of the waves and zoom off into the sky. That was all we needed to bring us back to reality. We were almost home when Doug said he hoped we’d have a good winter with lots of rain and snow, so needed, so important. And into my remembering mode came the scene in the hills of Athens, W.Va., where my husband Don was in training at Concord College.
I was walking toward the college library and it was snowing. On both sides of the path were beautiful pine trees each limb dusted with white. I stopped and stood all by myself in that unusually magnificent place and said a special thank you to my maker.
The test is over and I’m just content, right now, to be home.
Edna Van Leuven is a Churchill County writer and columnist. She may be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org